Father Ronald Rolheiser was born in Macklin, Saskatchewan, in 1947, the oldest of twelve children, to George and Matilda Rolheiser.
Ronald’s father George, along with his and other German- Russian families, emigrated from Saratov, Russia to settle, as homesteaders, near the Alberta border. In Canada, the immigrants established a community centered on St. Donatus Church in Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. Ronald’s mother Matilda was from a family of homesteaders in a nearby area. After meeting George at a parish picnic, they married, acquired a farm, near Cactus Lake, within 5 miles of the original Rolheiser homestead.
For Ronald and his siblings, life on a mixed farm included chores before and after school, including seeding and harvesting. Driving farm machinery as a teenager was one of the more enjoyable tasks. The family was active and competitive, playing at the farm and at parish events. Ronald’s love of sports has roots in these family times.
Education was highly valued by the Rolheisers. Excellence was expected and Ron rose to the challenge. He was an impatient scholar, always looking for knowledge and ideas beyond the world he experienced. He shared a love of education and knowledge with his father, and their relationship was based on a strong bond and mutual respect.
Following his school years, Ronald entered the novitiate of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and professed his First Vows in September 1966. Ordained to the priesthood in 1972, Ronald continued his education, receiving a B.A. (University of Ottawa, 1969), B.Th. (Newman Theological College, 1973), M.A. (University of San Francisco, 1974), M.R.Sc. (University of Louvain, 1982) and Ph.D/STD (University of Louvain, 1982). During and after his own studies, Father Ronald taught theology and philosophy at Newman Theological College, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
In 1982, while living and studying in Belgium, Fr. Ronald began to write a regular feature column in the Canadian newspaper, The Western Catholic Reporter. The column offered reflections on various theological, church and secular issues. His first book, The Loneliness Factor was published in 1979. The Holy Longing, first published in 1999, is a contemporary classic among Christians. His most recent book Sacred Fire is the highly anticipated follow up to The Holy Longing and releases March 2014 from Image.
Fr. Ronald still is very involved in the life of his large extended family, enjoying their annual hiking trips and New Year’s celebrations. Most Christmases you will find him in his home church, St. Donatus, near the former family farm in Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. He is also known for his commitment to prayer and exercise, love of sports, sense of humor, loyalty, and his enjoyment of the odd cigar and fine scotch.
Visit Fr. Ronald at www.RonRolheiser.com.
This month we’re giving away 5 copies of Sacred Fire. Simply fill out the form below for a chance to win!